SLY m English
Short form of SYLVESTER
. The actor Sylvester Stallone (1946-) is a well-known bearer of this nickname.
SMITH m English
From an English surname meaning "metal worker, blacksmith"
, derived from Old English smitan
"to smite, to hit". It is the most common surname in most of the English-speaking world.
SONDRA f English
Variant of SAUNDRA
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by a character in Theodore Dreiser's novel An American Tragedy
(1925) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1931).
SONNY m English
From a nickname that is commonly used to denote a young boy, derived from the English word son
SONYA f Russian, English
Russian diminutive of SOPHIA
. This is the name of a character in Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace
(1869, English translation 1886).
SOPHIA f English, Greek, German, Ancient Greek
in Greek. This was the name of an early, probably mythical, saint who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred during the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Legends about her probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase Hagia Sophia
"Holy Wisdom", which is the name of a large basilica in Constantinople.... [more]
SORREL f English (Rare)
From the name of the sour tasting plant, which may ultimately derive from Germanic sur
SPENCER m English
From a surname that meant "dispenser of provisions"
, derived from Middle English spense
"larder, pantry". A famous bearer was American actor Spencer Tracy (1900-1967). It was also the surname of Princess Diana (1961-1997).
SPIKE m English (Rare)
From a nickname that may have originally been given to a person with spiky hair.
SPIRIT f English (Rare)
From the English word spirit
, ultimately from Latin spiritus
"breath, energy", a derivative of spirare
SPRING f English
From the name of the season, ultimately from Old English springan
"to leap, to burst forth".
STACY f & m English
Either a diminutive of ANASTASIA
, or else from a surname that was derived from Stace
, a medieval form of EUSTACE
. As a feminine name, it came into general use during the 1950s, though it had earlier been in use as a rare masculine name.
STAFFORD m English
From a surname that was from a place name meaning "landing-place ford"
in Old English.
STANFORD m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "stone ford"
in Old English.
STANLEY m English
From a surname meaning "stone clearing"
in Old English. A notable bearer of the surname was the British-American explorer and journalist Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), the man who found David Livingstone in Africa. As a given name, it was borne by American director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999), as well as the character Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire
STAR f English
From the English word for the celestial body, ultimately from Old English steorra
STELLA (1) f English, Italian, Dutch, German
in Latin. This name was created by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney for the subject of his collection of sonnets Astrophel and Stella
. It was a nickname of a lover of Jonathan Swift, real name Esther Johnson (1681-1728), though it was not commonly used as a given name until the 19th century. It appears in Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire
(1947), belonging to the sister of Blanche DuBois and the wife of Stanley Kowalski.
STEPHEN m English, Biblical
From the Greek name Στέφανος (Stephanos)
meaning "crown, wreath"
, more precisely "that which surrounds"
. Saint Stephen was a deacon who was stoned to death, as told in Acts in the New Testament. He is regarded as the first Christian martyr. Due to him, the name became common in the Christian world. It was popularized in England by the Normans.... [more]
STERLING m English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from city of Stirling, which is itself of unknown meaning. The name can also be given in reference to the English word sterling
meaning "excellent". In this case, the word derives from sterling silver, which was so named because of the emblem that some Norman coins bore, from Old English meaning "little star".
STEVE m English
Short form of STEVEN
. A notable bearer was American technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
STEVEN m English, Dutch
Medieval English variant of STEPHEN
, and a Dutch variant of STEFAN
. The filmmaker Steven Spielberg (1946-), director of E.T.
and Indiana Jones
, is a famous bearer of this name.
STUART m English, Scottish
From an occupational surname originally belonging to a person who was a steward. It is ultimately derived from Old English stig
"house" and weard
"guard". As a given name, it arose in 19th-century Scotland in honour of the Stuart royal family, which produced several kings and queens of Scotland and Britain between the 14th and 18th centuries.
SUELLEN f English
Contraction of SUSAN
and ELLEN (1)
. Margaret Mitchell used this name in her novel Gone with the Wind
(1936), where it belongs to Scarlett's sister.
SULLIVAN m English
From an Irish surname that was derived from Ó Súileabháin
meaning "descendant of Súileabhán"
. The name Súileabhán
means "little dark eye" in Irish.
SUMMER f English
From the name of the season, ultimately from Old English sumor
. It has been in use as a given name since the 1970s.
SUNDAY f English
From the name of the day of the week, which ultimately derives from Old English sunnandæg
, which was composed of the elements sunne
"sun" and dæg
SUNNY f & m English
From the English word meaning "sunny, cheerful"
SUNSHINE f English
From the English word, ultimately from Old English sunne
"sun" and scinan
SUSAN f English
English variant of SUSANNA
. This has been most common spelling since the 18th century. It was especially popular both in the United States and the United Kingdom from the 1940s to the 1960s. A notable bearer was the American feminist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906).
SUSANNA f Italian, Catalan, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Old Church Slavic
From Σουσάννα (Sousanna)
, the Greek form of the Hebrew name שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (Shoshannah)
. This was derived from the Hebrew word שׁוֹשָׁן (shoshan)
(in modern Hebrew this also means "rose"
), perhaps ultimately from Egyptian sšn
"lotus". In the Old Testament Apocrypha this is the name of a woman falsely accused of adultery. The prophet Daniel
clears her name by tricking her accusers, who end up being condemned themselves. It also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a woman who ministers to Jesus
SYBIL f English
Variant of SIBYL
. This spelling variation has existed since the Middle Ages.
SYDNEY f & m English
From a surname that was a variant of the surname SIDNEY
. This is the name of the largest city in Australia, which was named for Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney in 1788. Since the 1990s this name has been mainly feminine.
SYLVAN m English
Either a variant of SILVANUS
or directly from the Latin word silva
meaning "wood, forest"
SYLVESTER m English, German, Danish
Medieval variant of SILVESTER
. This is currently the usual English spelling of the name. A famous bearer is the American actor Sylvester Stallone (1946-).
TABITHA f English, Biblical, Biblical Greek
in Aramaic. Tabitha in the New Testament was a woman restored to life by Saint Peter
. Her name is translated into Greek as Dorcas
(see Acts 9:36
). As an English name, Tabitha
became common after the Protestant Reformation. It was popularized in the 1960s by the television show Bewitched
, in which Tabitha (sometimes spelled Tabatha) is the daughter of the main character.
TACEY f English (Archaic)
Derived from Latin tace
meaning "be silent"
. It was in use from the 16th century, though it died out two centuries later.
TALBOT m English (Rare)
From a surname that was perhaps derived from a Germanic given name composed of the elements tal
"to destroy" and bod
TALLULAH f English (Rare)
Popularly claimed to mean "leaping waters" in the Choctaw language, it may actually mean "town" in the Creek language. This is the name of waterfalls in Georgia. It was borne by American actress Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968), who was named after her grandmother, who may have been named after the waterfalls.
TALON m English (Modern)
From the English word meaning "talon, claw"
, ultimately derived (via Norman French) from Latin talus
TAMARA f Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Hungarian, English, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Lithuanian, Georgian
Russian form of TAMAR
. Russian performers such as Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978), Tamara Drasin (1905-1943), Tamara Geva (1907-1997) and Tamara Toumanova (1919-1996) introduced it to the English-speaking world. It was also borne by the Polish cubist painter Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980).
TAMIA f English (Modern)
Elaborated form of the popular name syllable Tam
, from names such as TAMARA
. It was popularized by Canadian singer Tamia Hill (1975-), who is known simply as Tamia.
TAMIKA f English
Variant of TAMIKO
, inspired by the American jazz singer Tamiko Jones (1945-) or the American movie A Girl Named Tamiko
TANNER m English
From an English surname meaning "one who tans hides"
TANSY f English (Rare)
From the name of the flower, which is derived via Old French from Late Latin tanacita
TARA (1) f English
Anglicized form of the Irish place name Teamhair
, which possibly means "elevated place"
in Gaelic. This was the name of the sacred hill near Dublin where the Irish high kings resided. It was popularized as a given name by the novel Gone with the Wind
(1936) and the subsequent movie adaptation (1939), in which it is the name of the O'Hara plantation.
TARYN f English
Probably a feminine form of TYRONE
. Actors Tyrone Power and Linda Christian created it for their daughter Taryn Power (1953-).
TATE m English
From an English surname that was derived from the Old English given name Tata
, of unknown origin.
TATIANA f Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, French, Slovak, Polish, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Greek, Georgian, English, Russian, Bulgarian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of the Roman name Tatianus
, a derivative of the Roman name TATIUS
. This was the name of a 3rd-century saint who was martyred in Rome under the emperor Alexander Severus. She was especially venerated in Orthodox Christianity, and the name has been common in Russia (as Татьяна
) and Eastern Europe. It was not regularly used in the English-speaking world until the 1980s.
TATTON m English (Rare)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "Tata's town"
in Old English.
TATUM f & m English (Modern)
From a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning "Tata's homestead"
in Old English.
TAWNY f English (Modern)
From the English word, ultimately deriving from Old French tané
, which means "light brown"
TAYLOR m & f English
From an English surname that originally denoted someone who was a tailor, from Norman French tailleur
, ultimately from Latin taliare
"to cut". Its modern use as a feminine name may have been influenced by the British-American author Taylor Caldwell (1900-1985).
TEAGAN m & f English (Modern)
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Tadhgáin
meaning "descendant of Tadhgán"
. The given name Tadhgán
is a diminutive of TADHG
TEAL f English (Rare)
From the English word for the type of duck or the greenish-blue colour.
TED m English
Short form of EDWARD
. A famous bearer was the American baseball player Ted Williams (1918-2002), who was born as Theodore.
TEMPERANCE f English (Archaic)
From the English word meaning "moderation"
. This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
TEMPEST f English (Rare)
From the English word meaning "storm"
. It appears in the title of William Shakespeare's play The Tempest
TEMPLE m & f English (Rare)
From a surname that originally belonged to a person who was associated with the Knights Templar, a medieval religious military order.
TENNYSON m English (Rare)
From an English surname that meant "son of Tenney"
being a medieval form of DENIS
. A notable bearer of the surname was British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).
TERENCE m English
From the Roman family name Terentius
, which is of unknown meaning. Famous bearers include Publius Terentius Afer, a Roman playwright, and Marcus Terentius Varro, a Roman scholar. It was also borne by several early saints. The name was used in Ireland as an Anglicized form of TOIRDHEALBHACH
, but it was not in use as an English name until the late 19th century.
TERESA f Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, Polish, Finnish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
Form of THERESA
used in several languages. Saint Teresa of Ávila was a 16th-century Spanish nun who reformed the Carmelite monasteries and wrote several spiritual books. It was also borne by the Albanian missionary Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), better known as Mother Teresa, who worked with the poor in India. She adopted the name in honour of the French saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who is the patron of missionaries.
TERRA f English
Variant of TARA (1)
, perhaps influenced by the Latin word terra
meaning "land, earth".
TERRELL m English
From an English surname that was probably derived from the Norman French nickname tirel "to pull"
, referring to a stubborn person. It may sometimes be given in honour of civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954).
TERRY (1) m & f English
From an English surname that was derived from the medieval name Thierry
, a Norman French form of THEODORIC
TERRY (2) m & f English
Diminutive of TERENCE
. A famous bearer was Terry Fox (1958-1981), a young man with an artificial leg who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He died of the disease before crossing the country.
TESS f English, Dutch
Diminutive of THERESA
. This is the name of the main character in Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Ubervilles
TEX m English
From a nickname denoting a person who came from the state of Texas. A famous bearer was the American animator Tex Avery (1908-1980), real name Frederick, who was born in Texas.
THADDEUS m English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From Θαδδαῖος (Thaddaios)
, the Greek form of the Aramaic name Thaddai
. It is possibly derived from a word meaning "heart"
, but it may in fact be an Aramaic form of a Greek name such as Θεόδωρος
). In the Gospel of Matthew, Thaddaeus is listed as one of the twelve apostles, though elsewhere in the New Testament his name is omitted and Jude
's appears instead. It is likely that the two names refer to the same person.
THANE m English (Rare)
From the Scottish and English noble title, which was originally from Old English thegn
THANKFUL f English (Archaic)
From the English word thankful
. This was one of the many virtue names used by the Puritans in the 17th century.
THATCHER m English (Modern)
From an English surname that referred to a person who thatched roofs by attaching straw to them, derived from Old English þæc
"thatch". The surname was borne by British prime minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013).
THELMA f English
Meaning unknown. It was a rare name when British author Marie Corelli used it for the Norwegian heroine of her novel Thelma
(1887). The name became popular around the end of the 19th century after the novel was published. It is sometimes claimed to derive from Greek θέλημα (thelema)
meaning "will", though this seems unlikely.
THEOBALD m English (Rare), Ancient Germanic
Means "bold people"
, derived from the Germanic elements theud
"people" and bald
"bold". The Normans brought the name to England, where it joined an existing Old English cognate. The medieval forms Tibald
were commonly Latinized as Theobaldus
. It was rare by the 20th century.
THEODORA f English, Greek, Ancient Greek
Feminine form of THEODORE
. This name was common in the Byzantine Empire, being borne by several empresses including the influential wife of Justinian in the 6th century.
THEODORE m English
From the Greek name Θεόδωρος (Theodoros)
, which meant "gift of god"
from Greek θεός (theos)
meaning "god" and δῶρον (doron)
meaning "gift". The name Dorothea
is derived from the same roots in reverse order. This was the name of several saints, including Theodore of Amasea, a 4th-century Greek soldier; Theodore of Tarsus, a 7th-century archbishop of Canterbury; and Theodore the Studite, a 9th-century Byzantine monk. It was also borne by two popes.... [more]
THERESA f English, German, Danish
From the Spanish and Portuguese name Teresa
. It was first recorded as Therasia
, being borne by the Spanish wife of Saint Paulinus of Nola in the 4th century. The meaning is uncertain, but it could be derived from Greek θέρος (theros)
, from Greek θερίζω (therizo)
meaning "to harvest"
, or from the name of the Greek island of Therasia (the western island of Santorini).... [more]
THOMAS m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
. In the New Testament this is the name of an apostle. When he heard that Jesus
had risen from the dead he initially doubted the story, until Jesus appeared before him and he examined his wounds himself. According to tradition he was martyred in India. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world.... [more]
THORLEY m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "thorn clearing"
in Old English.
THORNTON m English
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "thorn town"
in Old English.
TIA f English
Short form of names ending with tia
. It has been suggested that its use since the 1950s is the result of the brand name for the coffee liqueur Tia Maria. In the brand name, Tia
is not a given name; rather, it means "aunt" in Spanish or Portuguese.
TIFFANY f English
Medieval form of THEOPHANIA
. This name was traditionally given to girls born on the Epiphany (January 6), the festival commemorating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus
. The name died out after the Middle Ages, but it was revived by the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's
(1961), the title of which refers to the Tiffany's jewelry store in New York.
TIGER m English (Rare)
From the name of the large striped cat, derived (via Old French and Latin) from Greek τίγρις (tigris)
, ultimately of Iranian origin. A famous bearer is American golfer Tiger Woods (1975-).
TIMOTHY m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Τιμόθεος (Timotheos)
meaning "honouring God"
, derived from τιμάω (timao)
meaning "to honour" and θεός (theos)
meaning "god". Saint Timothy was a companion of Paul
on his missionary journeys and was the recipient of two of Paul's epistles that appear in the New Testament. He was of both Jewish and Greek ancestry. According to tradition, he was martyred at Ephesus after protesting the worship of Artemis
. As an English name, Timothy
was not used until after the Protestant Reformation.
TINA f English, Italian, Dutch, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian, Georgian
Short form of CHRISTINA
, and other names ending in tina
. In addition to these names, it is also used in Dutch as a diminutive of CATHARINA
, in Croatian as a diminutive of KATARINA
, and in Georgian as a short form of TINATIN
TITTY f English
Diminutive of LETITIA
. This is now a slang word for the female breast, and the name has subsequently dropped out of common use.
TITUS m Ancient Roman, English, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Roman praenomen, or given name, which is of unknown meaning, possibly related to Latin titulus "title of honour"
. It is more likely of Oscan origin, since it was borne by the legendary Sabine king Titus Tatius.... [more]
TOBIAS m Biblical, German, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, English, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Greek form of TOBIAH
. This is the name of the hero of the apocryphal Book of Tobit, which appears in many English versions of the Old Testament. It relates how Tobit
's son Tobias, with the help of the angel Raphael
, is able to drive away a demon who has plagued Sarah, who subsequently becomes his wife. This story was popular in the Middle Ages, and the name came into occasional use in parts of Europe at that time. In England it became common after the Protestant Reformation.
TOBIN m English
From an English surname that was itself derived from the given name TOBIAS
TOBY m & f English
Medieval form of TOBIAS
. It was sometimes used as a feminine name in the 1930s and 40s due to the influence of American actress Toby Wing (1915-2001).
TODD m English
From a surname meaning "fox"
, derived from Middle English todde
TOM (1) m English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish
Short form of THOMAS
. Tom Sawyer was the main character in several of Mark Twain's novels, first appearing in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
(1876). Other famous bearers include American actors Tom Hanks (1956-) and Tom Cruise (1962-).
TOPAZ f English (Rare)
From the English word for the yellow precious stone, the birthstone of November, ultimately derived from Greek τόπαζος (topazos)
TOPSY f English (Rare)
From a nickname that is of unknown meaning, perhaps deriving from the English word top
. This is the name of a young slave in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin
TRACY f & m English
From an English surname that was taken from a Norman French place name meaning "domain belonging to THRACIUS"
. Charles Dickens used it for a male character in his novel The Pickwick Papers
(1837). It was later popularized as a feminine name by the main character Tracy Lord in the movie The Philadelphia Story
(1940). This name is also sometimes used as a diminutive of THERESA
TRAFFORD m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "fish-trap ford"
in Old English.
TRAVIS m English
From the English surname Travis
(a variant of TRAVERS
). It was used in America in honour of William Travis (1809-1836), the commander of the Texan forces at the Battle of the Alamo.
TRENT m English
From a surname that originally denoted someone who lived by the River Trent
in England. Trent
is also a city in Italy, though the etymology is unrelated.
TRENTON m English
From the name of a New Jersey city established in the 17th century by William Trent. It means "TRENT
TREVELYAN m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a Cornish place name meaning "homestead on the hill"
TREVOR m Welsh, English
From a surname that was originally from a place name meaning "big village"
from Welsh tref
"village" and mawr
TREY m English
From an English nickname meaning "three"
TRINITY f English
From the English word Trinity
, given in honour of the Christian belief that God has one essence, but three distinct expressions of being: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It has only been in use as a given name since the 20th century.
TRISTAN m Welsh, English, French, Arthurian Romance
Old French form of the Pictish name Drustan
, a diminutive of DRUST
. The spelling was altered by association with Latin tristis
"sad". Tristan is a character in medieval French tales, probably inspired by older Celtic legends, and ultimately merged into Arthurian legend. According to the story Tristan was sent to Ireland in order to fetch Isolde
, who was to be the bride of King Mark of Cornwall. On the way back, Tristan and Isolde accidentally drink a potion that makes them fall in love. Their tragic story was very popular in the Middle Ages, and the name has occasionally been used since that time.
TROY m English
Originally from a surname that denoted a person from the city of Troyes in France. It is now more likely used in reference to the ancient city of Troy that was besieged by the Greeks in Homer
. The city's name, from Greek Τροία (Troia)
, is said to derive from its mythical founder Τρώς (Tros)
, but is more likely of Luwian or Hittite origin. This name was popularized in the 1960s by the actor Troy Donahue (1936-2001), who took his stage name from that of the ancient city.
TRUMAN m English
From a surname that meant "trusty man"
in Middle English. A famous bearer of the surname was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It was also borne by American writer Truman Capote (1924-1984).
TUCKER m English (Modern)
From an occupational surname for a cloth fuller, derived from Old English tucian
meaning "offend, torment". A fuller was a person who cleaned and thickened raw cloth by pounding it.
TWILA f English
Meaning unknown. Perhaps based on the English word twilight
, or maybe from a Cajun pronunciation of French étoile
"star". It came into use as an American given name in the late 19th century.
TYE m English
From a surname meaning "pasture"
in Middle English.
TYLER m English
From an English surname meaning "tiler of roofs"
, derived from Old English tigele
"tile". The surname was borne by American president John Tyler (1790-1862).
TYRONE m English
From the name of a county in Northern Ireland, which is derived from Irish Gaelic Tir Eoghain
meaning "land of EOGHAN
". This name was popularized by American actor Tyrone Power (1914-1958), who was named after his great-grandfather, an Irish actor.
TYSON m English
From an English surname that could be derived from a nickname for a quarrelsome person, from Old French tison
. Alternatively, it could be a variant of DYSON
. A famous bearer of the surname was boxer Mike Tyson (1966-).
ULRIC m English (Rare)
Middle English form of the Old English name Wulfric
meaning "wolf ruler"
. When it is used in modern times, it is usually as a variant of ULRICH
ULYSSES m Roman Mythology, English
Latin form of ODYSSEUS
. It was borne by Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the commander of the Union forces during the American Civil War, who went on to become an American president. Irish author James Joyce used it as the title of his book Ulysses
(1922), which loosely parallels Homer
's epic the Odyssey
UNITY f English (Rare)
From the English word unity
, which is ultimately derived from Latin unitas
UPTON m English (Rare)
From a surname that was derived from a place name meaning "upper town"
in Old English. A famous bearer of this name was the American novelist Upton Sinclair (1878-1968).
URSULA f English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Late Roman
Means "little bear"
, derived from a diminutive form of the Latin word ursa
"she-bear". Saint Ursula was a legendary virgin princess of the 4th century who was martyred by the Huns while returning from a pilgrimage. In England the saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and the name came into general use at that time.
VALENTINE (1) m English
From the Roman cognomen Valentinus
, which was itself a derivative of the cognomen Valens
meaning "strong, vigorous, healthy"
in Latin. Saint Valentine was a 3rd-century martyr. His feast day was the same as the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, which resulted in the association between Valentine's day and love. As an English name, it has been used occasionally since the 12th century.